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St. Louis has numbers to repeat in Lady Byng

Monday, 04.11.2011 / 5:00 PM / 2011 NHL Awards

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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St. Louis has numbers to repeat in Lady Byng
After ending Pavel Datsyuk's four-year streak of winning the award, Martin St. Louis is poised to repeat this season after putting up 99 points and taking just six minor penalties.
The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is given to the "player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." For a while, the Lady Byng looked like it should have been renamed the "Pavel Datsyuk Trophy" -- Detroit's star center won it four times in a row from 2006-09.

But Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis ended Datsyuk's reign last year, and with even better offensive numbers in 2010-11, there's no reason he shouldn't repeat.

Winner:

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning -- What can you say about a player who has more game-winning goals (7) than minor penalties (6)? St. Louis won the Lady Byng last season, ending his three-year streak as runner-up, and there's no reason he shouldn't do it again.

Want skill? St. Louis ended the season with 99 points, second to Art Ross winner Daniel Sedin. He scored 31 goals and added 68 assists, second in the NHL to Henrik Sedin. He eats nearly 21 minutes a night, plays in all situations and had his best statistical season since getting 102 points in 2006-07.

St. Louis' 12 penalty minutes match his total from last season. At 5-foot-8 and 176 pounds, he's feisty -- but he knows that a player of his skill level is a lot more valuable to his team on the ice than in the penalty box.

Runners-up:

Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
-- No defenseman has won the Lady Byng since Detroit's Red Kelly in 1954. If there's ever a player who could end that streak, it's Lidstrom.

Detroit's captain is second among all defensemen in scoring, runs Detroit's power play, keys the penalty kill, eats up minutes and is among the greatest blueliners ever to lace up a pair of skates. This season, he's put up 16 goals and 62 points while incurring only 10 minor penalties -- a low total for any regular skater, and almost incredible for a defenseman who plays 23-plus minutes a game.

Brad Richards, Dallas Stars -- Richards won the Lady Byng in 2003-04, when he and St. Louis were teammates on the Stanley Cup champion Lightning, and came in second to his former teammate last season.

At age 30, Richards is still among the NHL's most productive players (77 points in 72 games, despite missing time with concussion symptoms), and does it all without spending a lot of time in the box (12 minor penalties).